5 proven strategies to help quit smoking

This plan will help you kick the ash for good and live a restored, longer and nicotine-free life

Umnia Shahid January 15, 2016

Did your fowl smoking habit linger into the New Year? Well, there’s always time to make a resolution. It’s no surprise to anyone but just a reminder — smoking cigarettes could lead to diseases such as lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and cardiovascular complications. As compiled from, Today, Men’s Health and Live Science, this plan will help you kick the ash for good and live a restored, longer and nicotine-free life.

Clock in workouts

Want to quit for good? Lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement. People who exercise when they crave cigarettes are more likely to overcome the urge to smoke, finds a report published in the journal Addiction. Researchers suggest exercise could distract you from thinking about taking a puff, and breaking a sweat may boost your mood and encourage your feelings of self-control, reducing impulsiveness. “If you sit in a chair and wait for the craving to go away, that’s going to make it much harder,” says Glen Morgan, Behavioural Research Programme director at the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute, US. Instead, he recommended taking a short walk. “Exercise may help reduce the craving because it helps reduce stress,” he adds. It’s also useful for minor anxiety or depression — both of which can influence people to smoke.

Start sharing (your story)

So, literally, you could quit smoking in 140 characters or less. According to research conducted by the University of Georgia, smokers who share their struggles via social media are more successful at quitting and staying clean than those who seek support offline. Flocking to Facebook can help you link up with like-minded others over a common goal, and the more connected you feel, the more you believe you can curb your cravings. Also, writing about quitting struggles could in fact, motivate you to keep trying.

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Load up on fruits, veggies

If you wish to never light a smoke again, it’s time to go do groceries and pick up some fresh produce. Eating more fruits and vegetables could help you quit smoking and stay tobacco-free for much longer, according to a 2012 University at Buffalo study. Yearnings for cigarettes and foods are closely linked and confused with one another, it concludes. With a diet that’s chock-full of fiber and necessary vitamins and minerals, you’ll feel fuller and avoid craving confusion.

Got milk?

If you don’t like milk, it’s a shame because the calcium-packed moo-juice lends a funky taste to cigarettes — making them all the less desirable. Researchers at the Duke University found that smokers were less likely to smoke with the aftertaste of milk in their mouth. And, honestly, what do you have to lose, just add more dairy to your diet — it’s not only brimming full with protein, but also builds strong bones and joints — all while quitting the nasty habit. Get a milk moustache and win at quitting!

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Double up on serene music

Get your headphones to work — but with calming tunes only. The mind reacts to soft melodies in the same way as it does while practicing “mindful meditation”; this may be your chance to turn up the volume on quitting. An extended research study of long-time smokers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found more than half of the participants (56%) stopped smoking after eight group sessions teaching meditation with the help of unruffled music. Those who spent an average of 45 minutes a day listening to tranquil music or meditating, did better than those who didn’t.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2016.

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